Zimmer accuses Lieutenant Governor Guadagno of saying that Sandy funds would flow to Hoboken provided Guadagno green-lighted a certain north Hoboken development. In comments, a bunch of us have been wondering what laws might pertain to this. On Chris Hayes' show tonight, Barbara Buono referred to this section of the US Code:
18 U.S. CODE § 201 - BRIBERY OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND WITNESSES:
(1) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official, or offers or promises any public official or any person who has been selected to be a public official to give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intent—
(A) to influence any official act;
shall be fined under this title or not more than three times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, whichever is greater, or imprisoned for not more than fifteen years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.
Clearly, if Zimmer is telling the truth, Guadagno was trying to influence Zimmer to perform an "official act," namely approving the development. But do the Sandy funds count as something "of value"? Would Guadagno (or Christie) argue that the statute doesn't apply because the Sandy funds are not a bribe, as they are legitimately in the Christie administration's gift? That is, the Christie administration could legitimately award or withhold those funds from Hoboken, and in itself neither of those decisions would be of questionable legality.
Lawyers, any comments on the applicability of this statute?